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Pentingnya Kampanye Hak Kekayaan Intelektual di Lembaga Pendidikan

Perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual merupakan salah satu aspek yang sangat penting untuk meningkatkan inovasi. Melalui perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual, maka para inovator dan juga pekerja kreatif akan mendapatkan perlindungan atas ide dan juga karya yang dibuatnya, dan bisa mendapatkan manfaat ekonomi dari inovasi yang telah mereka ciptakan.

Tanpa adanya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual, maka hal tersebut tentu akan sangat merugikan para inovator dan pekerja kreatif. Dengan mudah, pihak-pihak yang tidak bertanggung jawab akan mencuri dan membajak ide-ide dan karya yang mereka buat. Dengan demikian, mereka tidak akan mampu untuk mendapatkan manfaat ekonomi dan finansial dari ide-ide dan karya yang sudah mereka buat.

Bila hal ini terjadi, akan sangat mungkin insentif seseorang untuk berkarya dan berinovasi akan semakin berkurang. Industri kreatif dan para inovator tidak mustahil akan memilih untuk pindah ke negara lain yang memiliki perlindungan kekayaan intelektual yang lebih baik. Dengan demikian, tentunya kita akan kehilangan banyak orang-orang dengan talenta yang besar.

Tidak hanya itu, bila inovasi menjadi berkurang dan industri kreatif tidak dapat berkembang, maka hal tersebut juga akan membawa dampak yang negatif terhadap kehidupan masyarakat. Diantaranya, akan semakin berkurang lapangan kerja yang tersedia bagi masyarakat yang tinggal di negara kita.

Oleh karena itu, penegakan hukum yang tegas terhadap mereka yang membajak karya orang lain, dan mencuri kekayaan intelektual dari para pekerja kreatif, adalah hal yang sangat penting terkait dengan perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual. Tanpa adanya penegakan hukum yang tegas, tentu akan sangat mustahil perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual di negara kita dapat ditegakkan.

Namun, aspek penegakan hukum yang dilakukan oleh aparat yang berwenang terhadap mereka yang mencuri hasil karya orang lain tentu tidak lah cukup sebagai satu-satunya langkah yang dilakukan untuk membangun ekosistem perlindungan kekayaan intelektual yang baik dan komprehensif. Dibutuhkan juga berbagai peran aktif dari masyarakat untuk mendaftarkan karya yang mereka buat, dan juga peningkatan kesadaran kepada masyarakat mengenai pentingnya perlindungan hak kekayaan inetelektual.

Untuk itu, sosialisasi kepada masyarakat mengenai pentingnya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual, termasuk juga aspek teknis mengenai bagaimana cara seseorang untuk mendaftarkan karya dan inovasi yang mereka buat, adalah sesuatu yang sangat penting. Melalui sosialisasi yang tepat, diharapkan masyarakat akan semakin memahami mengapa perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual adalah sesuatu yang sangat penting.

Ada berbagai cara dan langkah yang bisa dilakukan terkait dengan sosialisasi mengenai pentingnya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual. Misalnya, melalui kampanye melalui iklan layanan masyarakat melalui media massa maupun media sosial. Selain itu, pemerintah juga sudah melakukan program sosialisasi tersebut melalui pembentukan klinik kekayaan intelektual untuk memudahkan masyarakat untuk mendapatkan informasi dan juga mendaftarkan karya yang mereka buat (kominfo.jatimprov.go.id, 23/9/2022).

Langkah lain yang tidak kalah pentingnya dalam rangka mensosialisasikan pentingnya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual adalah sosialisasi melalui berbagai lembaga pendidikan seperti sekolah. Penanaman nilai-nilai mengenai pentingnya untuk melindungi hak kekayaan intelektual sejak muda tentu merupakan hal yang penting bila kita ingin membangun ekosistem perlindungan kekayaan intelektual yang lebih baik di masa depan.

Sehubungan dengan hal tersebut, pemerintah sendiri sudah menjalankan beberapa program sosialisasi mengenai pentingnya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual ke lembaga pendidikan seperti sekolah. Beberapa waktu lalu misalnya, Pemerintah Indonesia akan melakukan sosialisasi mengenai pentingnya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual melalui para guru dan tenaga pengajar di berbagai sekolah di Indonesia.

Salah satu program tersebut diantaranya adalah meliputi pengukuhan 346 guru Kekayaan Intelektual (RuKI) tahun ini. Para guru tersebut kelak nantinya akan diterjunkan ke sekitar 170 sekolah di seluruh Indonesia untuk memberikan pemahaman mengenai pentingnya melindungi hak kekayaan intelektual (edukasi.okezone.com, 3/8/2022).

Berdasarkan keterangan dari DIrektorat Jenderal Kekayaan Intelektual (DJKI), pengukuhan guru Kekayaan Intelektual tersebut merupakan bagian dari kegiatan DJKI Mengajar tahun 2022. Tujuan dari adanya kegiatan tersebut adalah untuk meningkatkan pemahaman dan membangun generasi yang sadar dan menghargai pentingnya perlindungan terhadap hak kekayaan intelektual (betiklampung.com, 28/9/2022).

Adanya program yang ditujukan untuk menanamkan nilai-nilai pentingnya menjaga hak kekayaan intelektual kepada generasi muda melalui lembaga pendidikan tentu merupakan hal yang patut kita apresiasi. Penanaman mengenai pentingnya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual sejak dini merupakan hal yang sangat penting untuk membangun generasi yang sadar menegnai pentingnya hak kekayaan intelektual.

Diharapkan, melalui program tersebut, kita bisa melahirkan generasi yang lebih kreatif dan mampu mengembangkan berbagai inovasi. Melalui hal tersebut, tentunya Indonesia akan menjadi negara yang lebih maju, modern, dan lebih sejahtera di masa yang akan datang.

Originally published here

Unleash the potential of vaping: lack of knowledge on vaping holds back smoking cessation

The Consumer Choice Center, together with World Vapers’ Alliance, recently presented a new survey conducted with 30 general practitioners and over 800 smokers in Germany and France – with an initial piece of good news: more than half of respondents want to quit smoking!

Awareness of the health effects of smoking tobacco has grown exponentially over the last decades, prompting policy-makers to make rules to curb usage. However, just like any vice that carries risk, prohibitive and strict measures have not yielded the desired results.

Standard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is recognised, observed, and covered by social security systems, despite showing very limited effects in the efforts of helping those who choose to quit, do so. Vaping has presented consumers with the opportunity to satisfy the need for nicotine, all while posing a fraction of the harm. Vaping is 95% less harmful than using conventional cigarettes, and is simultaneously the most successful smoking cessation tool.

Knowing all this, we can say that vaping is to nicotine use what seatbelts are to driving or what condoms are to sexual encounters: while it may be safer to not use nicotine at all, not drive a car, or not have sex, it is crucial to apply harm reduction. Since the invention of the first e-cigarette in 2003, vaping has come a long way in offering a choice to smokers who wish to quit, and has done so with far less risks involved than cigarettes.

Unfortunately, accurate reporting on vaping is sometimes hard to find. A lot of readers might recall the spike in EVALI (E-cigarette, or Vaping Product, Use Associated Lung Injury) cases in the United States in 2019, which was blamed on vaping. To this day, these cases have disincentivised smokers from switching, even though it has been shownthat affected users had been consuming THC-containing e-liquids from the illicit market. Unbeknownst to buyers at the time, vitamin E acetate had been added to those liquids, with fatal consequences for those who consumed them. All the story really did was underline the importance of a regulated and legal market for vaping products, which prevents leaving the market to bootleggers.

When advocating for harm reduction, organisations such as ours don’t just run into media scare stories, but also into widespread misconceptions. The CCC/WVA survey showed that 33% of smokers in France and 43% in Germany believe vaping is as harmful or more harmful than cigarettes. The erroneous beliefs on nicotine stretch even further: 69% of smokers in France and 74% of smokers in Germany believe nicotine causes cancer, which is far removed from the scientific evidence. Experts on nicotine have long known this, yet the information has not permeated to the public, to politicians, or to general practitioners.

Doctors are essential change-makers when it comes to the unhealthy habits of their patients. However, our survey has shown that too many doctors share ill-informed views on nicotine, or aren’t even aware of the concept of harm reduction. As a result, most doctors do not recommend vaping as a smoking cessation tool. Their views on nicotine (they often believe it causes lung damage) is also fundamentally incoherent: if nicotine were to cause lung damage, why would doctors recommend NRTs, all of which contain nicotine?

Tobacco harm reduction has a long way to go before reaching the ambitious targets of large-scale smoking cessation. Information is therefore crucial: the demonisation of the most successful harm reduction tool needs to stop, and so do punitive rules and regulations. Vaping ought to be at the core of any upcoming policy changes designed to curb tobacco consumption, instead of being the target of overtaxation.

Originally published here

The study reveals 62% of smokers in France and 53% in Germany believe anti-smoking policies ignore how difficult it is to stop smoking

The study commissioned by Consumer Choice Center and written in cooperation with the World Vapers’ Alliance reveals several misconceptions about nicotine and harm reduction among healthcare practitioners and consumers.

The survey on Perceptions on Tobacco Harm Reduction and Nicotine in France and Germany was conducted to gain a greater insight into the impact of misperceptions about vaping among general practitioners, smokers, and policymakers, on the future harm reduction policy in Europe. The survey features 30 interviews with general practitioners and a quantitative survey of 862 French and German smokers.

Key findings:

  • Only three out of 15 doctors in Germany say they know the term harm reduction.
  • 33% of smokers in France and 43% in Germany wrongly believe vaping is as harmful or more harmful than cigarettes.
  • 69% of smokers in France and 74% of smokers in Germany wrongly believe nicotine causes cancer.
  • 62% of smokers in France and 53% in Germany believe anti-smoking policies ignore how difficult it is to stop smoking.

Read the full text here

RÉSEAUX SOCIAUX ET MÉDIAS : LA FIN DE L’ENTRAIDE ?

Quand l’Etat choisit les gagnants et les perdants sur le marché, cela ne se termine jamais bien.

Certaines personnes partageront cet article sur les réseaux sociaux, ce qui augmentera le trafic vers le site de La Chronique Agora. Plus de trafic sur un site web signifie qu’un nombre plus important d’utilisateurs seront susceptibles de cliquer sur le contenu de ce même site, ce qui génère des revenus publicitaires.

En ce sens, Facebook ou Twitter agissent comme des multiplicateurs d’exposition pour les entreprises médiatiques. Toutefois, les législateurs en Europe, aux Etats-Unis et ailleurs, ne voient pas les choses de cette façon.

La sénatrice démocrate Amy Klobuchar a par exemple proposé le « Journalism Competition and Preservation Act » de 2021 (JCPA), qui prétend protéger les médias locaux en permettant aux diffuseurs de se regrouper pour négocier les conditions de distribution du contenu. En substance, cette législation permettrait aux entreprises médiatiques de coordonner les prix sur quelque chose dont elles bénéficient – les réseaux sociaux permettant aux utilisateurs de partager des liens.

Une concurrence pas vraiment libre

Le projet de loi exempte les entreprises de médias des lois « antitrust » pendant quatre ans, même si les entreprises des réseaux continueraient d’être concernées par ces lois. Selon Mme Klobuchar, cela permettrait de détourner les bénéfices des géants du net vers les entreprises de médias qui ont connu des difficultés au cours des dernières décennies – notamment en raison de leur incapacité à s’adapter au modèle en ligne.

Le projet de loi de Klobuchar ne va pas tout à fait aussi loin que ce qu’auraient souhaité certains responsables de la réglementation en Europe. En 2018, la Commission européenne a proposé une nouvelle législation sur le droit d’auteur qui imposerait une « taxe sur les liens ». Celle-ci obligerait les plateformes à payer l’éditeur pour l’utilisation de « snippets » (image et courts extraits de texte, comme ce qui s’affiche dans les résultats d’une recherche sur Google) ou à ne pas autoriser du tout la publication du lien.

Cette proposition a suscité des protestations à grande échelle dans toute l’Europe, au motif qu’elle réduirait l’accès à l’information, limiterait la liberté d’expression et favoriserait les « fake news ». Finalement, l’UE a édulcoré la proposition et, à ce jour, de nombreux pays membres de l’UE traînent les pieds pour mettre en œuvre certains aspects de la réforme du droit d’auteur.

Le JCPA est un argument moins élaboré que l’approche européenne du droit d’auteur. Pour Amy Klobuchar, il s’agit simplement de redistribuer les moyens financiers d’un acteur économique à un autre, non pas par le biais de la fiscalité, mais par la création de cartels. Cela créerait une myriade de problèmes.

Exempter un secteur économique des règles antitrust crée un précédent auquel d’autres secteurs feront pression pour accéder. Après tout, si les entreprises de médias peuvent s’unir pour combattre Meta et Twitter, pourquoi les conglomérats hôteliers ne peuvent-ils pas s’entendre pour limiter l’offre d’Airbnb ?

Quand l’Etat choisit les gagnants et les perdants sur le marché, cela ne se termine jamais bien et expose en l’occurrence les législateurs à une influence indue. En fin de compte, la question pourrait très bien être : Amy Klobuchar ne cherche-t-elle pas à bénéficier d’une couverture médiatique positive à travers ce projet de loi et ses effets ?

Mauvaise nouvelle pour les citoyens

Ceux qui s’inquiètent de la concentration du marché dans le domaine des médias devraient considérer ce projet de loi d’un œil très critique. Si certains peuvent bénéficier des cartels, ce n’est jamais le cas des citoyens et des consommateurs.

Il est également peu probable que ce projet de loi aide efficacement les entreprises médiatiques en difficulté. De nombreuses plateformes médiatiques génèrent déjà la majorité du trafic de leur site web, et donc de leurs revenus, par le biais des clics sur les réseaux sociaux – ainsi, une taxe sur les liens devrait être beaucoup trop élevée pour produire des résultats.

Cela pourrait conduire les réseaux sociaux à bloquer purement et simplement le partage de liens vers certains sites d’information, comme cela s’est produit en Australie lorsqu’une législation similaire a été mise en œuvre. Lorsque l’Espagne a tenté de mettre en place une taxe sur les liens, Google News a fermé ses services dans le pays (et ne les a rouvert que récemment, après que l’UE a atténué la législation locale).

Les prémisses sous-jacentes de ce projet de loi aux Etats-Unis, ou des législations qui ont été considérées par l’Union européenne, sont doubles.

D’une part, elles supposent que la situation critique des entreprises journalistiques est due aux géants des réseaux sociaux comme Meta ou Twitter. Le fait que Facebook ait fermé le partage de liens d’actualité en Australie l’année dernière prouve que la plateforme n’a pas besoin de contenu d’actualité pour survivre ; les médias ont besoin de Facebook bien plus que Facebook n’a besoin d’eux.

L’autre hypothèse est que l’économie est statique. Facebook et Twitter, à moins qu’ils n’innovent, ont peu de chances de rester les acteurs les plus importants dans le domaine des réseaux sociaux. Ils savent mieux que quiconque dans quelle mesure ils peuvent devenir superflus aux yeux de leurs utilisateurs : pensez à MySpace.

Si nous acceptons cette situation pour les réseaux sociaux, nous n’appliquons pas le même raisonnement à l’espace médiatique. Pourquoi les journaux et les diffuseurs ne pourraient-ils pas s’adapter à l’espace numérique d’une manière financièrement viable, sans l’intervention de l’Etat ?

Farsalinos: “La sigaretta elettronica deve entrare in ogni programma di lotta al fumo”

Presentato oggi alla stampa uno studio sulla percezione di sigaretta elettronica e riduzione del danno condotto in Francia e Germania.

l 33% dei fumatori francesi e il 43% di quelli tedeschi crede, sbagliando, che la sigaretta elettronica sia dannosa come quella di tabacco o addirittura di più. Il 69% dei fumatori in Francia e il 74% in Germania ritiene erroneamente che la nicotina causi il cancro. Solo tre medici tedeschi su quindici affermano di conoscere il termine “riduzione del danno” e forse è anche per questo che nei due Paesi la maggioranza dei tabagisti (69% in Francia, 74% in Germania) è convinto che le politiche antifumo non tengano conto di quanto sia difficile smettere di fumare. Sono questi i principali risultati di un’indagine commissionata alla società di ricerca Info Sapiens dal Consumer Choice Center in collaborazione con la rete internazionale di associazioni dei consumatori di e-cigarette World Vapers Alliance (WVA).

Read the full text here

Vape Fair Indonesia 2022 dan Optimisme Industri Vape di Indonesia

Rokok elektrik atau vape saat ini merupakan salah satu produk yang memiliki konsumen yang semakin meningkat. Kita, khususnya yang tinggal di daerah urban dan perkotaan besar, pasti bisa dengan mudah menemukan berbagai pengguna vape di sekitar kita, dan juga berbagai tempat yang menjual produk-produk tersebut.

Bagi sebagian kalangan, vape atau rokok elektrik merupakan bagian dari keseharian. Tentunya, dengan semakin banyak dan meluasnya jumah pengguna vape atau rokok elektrik di seluruh dunia, termasuk juga di Indonesia, ada berbagai faktor yang menyebabkan seseorang untuk memilih untuk menggunakan vape sebagai bagian dari keseharian mereka.

Salah satu faktor yang paling umum yang menjadi penyebab seseorang untuk menggunakan vape adalah menjadikan rokok elektrik sebagai produk pengganti rokok konvensional yang dibakar, yang sebelumnya mereka gunakan sehari-hari. 

Dengan kata lain, mereka menggunakan produk-produk vape dan rokok elektrik sebagai cara untuk membantu mereka berhenti merokok (health.detik.com, 24/12/2018).

Menggunakan produk-produk vape atau rokok elektrik sebagai salah satu cara untuk membantu seseorang berhenti merokok memang saat ini menjadi langkah yang diambil oleh banyak orang. 

Hal ini dikarenakan, berdasarkan laporan berbagai lembaga medis, vape atau rokok elektrik merupakan produk yang jauh lebih tidak berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar.

Salah satu dari lembaga kesehatan yang mengeluarkan laporan tersebut adalah lembaga kesehatan publik asal Inggris, Public Health England (PHE). Dalam laporannya tahun 2015 lalu, menyatakan bahwa vape atau rokok elektrik merupakan produk yang 95% jauh lebih tidak berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional (gov.uk, 19/8/2015).

Selain itu, faktor lain yang menyebabkan tidak sedikit orang yang beralih untuk menggunakan vape atau rokok elektrik adalah rasanya yang lebih variatif, dan juga harganya yang cenderung lebih murah secara total bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional. Hal ini tentu merupakan beebrapa faktor yang penting yang dapat membuat banyak konsumen untuk tertarik mengganti rokok konvensional yang mereka gunakan dalam keseharian ke rokok elektrik (health.detik.com, 24/12/2018).

Semakin meningkatnya pengguna vape di Indonesia, juga tentunya memunculkan banyak event dan berbagai acara yang bertemakan mengenai vape atau rokok elektrik. 

Acara-acara tersebut umumnya diadakan, selain untuk tujuan marketing berbagai produsen rokok elektrik untuk memperkenalkan produk-produk mereka, juga diikuti dengan berbagai program-program kompetisi dan juga sebagai sarana untuk menampung aspirasi para pengguna vape, yang didominasi oleh kaangan muda

Salah satu perhelatan vape dan rokok elektrik terbesar yang diadakan di Indonesia adalah Vape Fair Indonesia 2022, yang diadakan di ibukota Jakarta pada tanggal 24-25 September lalu. Acara ini sendiri merupakan acara rutin yang diadakan setiap tahun (vapemagz.co.id, 27/9/2022).

Vape Fair Indonesia 2022 merupakan event vape terbesar di Asia Tenggara, dan dipenuhi bukan hanya dengan pameran berbagai produk vape dan rokok elektrik, tetapi juga diisi berbagai kegiatan lainnya. Beberapa diantaranya adalah kegiatan kompetisi seperti competisi trik asap, kompetisi seni, dan lain sebagainya (vapemagz.co.id, 27/9/2022).

Selain itu, para tenant yang menjadi peserta dari ajang ini juga bukan hanya dari Indonesia saja, tetapi juga dari berbagai negara lainnya, diantaranya adalah Malaysia, China, dan juga Amerika Serikat. 

Acara ini sendiri sudah berkembang dengan pesat dan signifikan, dibandingkan ketika event ini diadakan pertama kalinya 8 tahun lalu pada tahun 2014, ketika acara tersebut hanya dihadiri beberapa tenant dari dalam negeri. Tidak kurang juga acara ini diramaikan oleh banyak artis dan selebrti papan atas dari Indonesia.

Suksesnya acara Vape Fair Indonesia 2022 ini sendiri juga merupakan salah satu bukti mengenai optimisme dari para pelaku industri rokok elektrik yang ada di Indonesia. 

Dan juga, acara pameran ini juga berpotensi besar bukan hanya memperkenalkan berbagai produk-produk vape kepada konsumen, tetapi juga bisa menjadi tempat bagi konsumen untuk mencari tahu info-info seputar vape dan rokok elektrik, seperti kandungan dan pengaruhnya bagi kesehatan, dan lain sebagainya.

Dengan demikian, industri rokok elektrik dapat semakin berkembang di Indonesia, yang tentunya akan semakin banyak membuka lapangan kerja bagi banyak tenaga kerja di negara kita. 

Selain itu, dengan semakin berkembangnya industri vape dan rokok elektrik, diharapkan hal ini akan membuat semakin mengurangi jumlah konsumen rokok konvensional yang dibakar yang ada di Indonesia, yang tentunya akan membawa dampak yang positif terhadap kesehatan publik, dan juga akan mengurangi tingkat berbagai penyakit kronis yang disebabkan oleh rokok konvensional di Indonesia.

Sebagai penutup, berhasil diadakannya acara perhelatan bertema vape terbesar di Asia Tenggara tahun ini di Indonesia merupakan salah satu pertanda optimisme industri vape yang ada di Indonesia. 

Semoga, melalui semakin berkembangnya industri vape dan rokok elektrik di Indonesia, akan dapat membawa manfaat bagi konsumen dan juga tenaga kerja di negara kita.

Originally published here

Regulators and Politicians Are Coming for the App Store

New legislation and an antitrust lawsuit threaten Apple’s monopoly over its App Store. The Department of Justice recently joined Fortnite developer Epic Games in appealing the latter’s failed 2020 lawsuit against Apple. Epic alleges that the tech giant’s exorbitant 30 percent commission on in-app transactions, which users are forced to conduct through the App Store, violates competition laws and harms consumers. 

Meanwhile, Congress could soon pass the Open App Markets Act (OAMA), a bipartisan bill that would stop app platforms from monopolizing payment systems for in-app transactions, restrict them from preferencing their own apps over competitors’ in-store, and require them to permit “sideloading” — the installation of unverified third-party apps outside of official app marketplaces.

This could give smartphone users access to more apps while increasing competition between developers. Lower entry barriers into the lucrative iPhone app market of more than 118 million Americans could spur innovation in apps that may not have been viable before. It would also encourage investment in developer start-ups and could lower prices for in-app purchases, including for emerging technologies like NFTs, by allowing developers to circumvent Apple’s commissions through alternative digital payment methods.

But is there more to the story?

Users aren’t likely to abandon their iPhones for competitors over costly in-app fees and a sideloading ban once locked in. Conversely, they may see this as a trade-off for better app vetting and data security and privacy controls that Apple promises. Android phones don’t levy 30 percent commissions on in-app transactions, but Google collects and monetizes user data for targeted advertising to a greater degree with fewer controls. 

Though conversely, analysts note that Apple’s own data collection and monetization also fuels its growing ad business, which is expected to grow to $20 billion/year in revenues by 2025. Sideloading outside the App store certainly threatens this segment of Apple’s business.

As for security, discerning adults can trust themselves in navigating less restrictive app marketplaces or in taking precautions if they sideload unverified apps. But the same can’t be said for vulnerable demographics like children or the elderly.

Though the OAMA permits smartphone operating systems to restrict or remove apps over legitimate security and privacy concerns, this may be difficult to implement regarding sideloading. A 2020 Nokia cybersecurity reportblamed sideloading, which is already possible on Android devices, for 15 to 47 times higher rates of malware infection on those devices relative to iPhones.

In any case, Google and Apple’s alternative business models have resulted in a split smartphone market. Apple holds 59 percent of the American market, while the global market is dominated by Android, whose share is 72.2 percent. Both companies face competition from alternative smartphone manufacturers like Huawei and non-smartphone app marketplaces, including gaming consoles like the Xbox, which are exempt from the OAMA.

In a competitive market where users already choose what they value, is a legislative or court mandate limiting companies’ abilities to tailor platforms to their user base necessary or desirable? The ability to monetize the app marketplace funds capital-intensive investment in platform and app ecosystem development. Stymying this ability could harm consumers by discouraging innovation and competition between platforms.

And if Target or Walmart’s ability to “self-preference” by placing home brand products in prime locations relative to competing alternatives is an accepted business practice that isn’t seen as “anti-competitive,” then how is self-preferencing on digital platforms different? Consumers already discern between brands and often choose alternatives for reasons other than cost or product placement — whether online or at brick-and-mortar stores. Placing limitations on self-preferencing may result in stores or platforms levying higher prices from consumers elsewhere or offering fewer choices.

The OAMA is likely to yield greater choices in apps for Apple customers and greater opportunities for developers. But there could still be some adverse long-term consequences. At the very least, provisions that restrict self-preferencing should be reconsidered as they won’t meaningfully increase choices consumers already face.

Originally published here

Roma Termini è tra le migliori stazioni europee

Un risultato importante decretato sulla base di molti fattori

Roma Termini premiata come una delle stazioni migliori di Europa. A decretarlo il Consumer Choice Center, un’organizzazione indipendente che lavora a stretto contatto con migliaia di consumatori e partner negli Stati Uniti, nell’Unione Europea e in numerosi altri Paesi prendendo in esame le 50 più grandi d’Europa per volume di passeggeri. Sono tanti i fattori tenuti in considerazione per la valutazione in merito e vanno dall’affollamento delle banchine ferroviarie, alla disponibilità di negozi e punti ristoro o di servizi chiave come la connessione Wi-Fi e all’accessibilità e al numero delle destinazioni.

Roma Termini nella top 5 delle stazioni europee

Lo scalo ferroviario più grande d’Italia con i suoi 25.000 mq di superficie e circa 150 milioni di passeggeri all’anno è stato inserito, infatti, nella top 5 delle stazioni ferroviarie in Europa, che vede al primo posto la svizzera Zürich HB, seguita da Milano Centrale a pari merito con le stazioni di Amsterdam, Francoforte, Monaco e Berlino, e al terzo posto dalla parigina Gare de Lyon. Roma Termini, insieme alla stazione di Hannover Hbf, occupa il quarto posto: un grande risultato che rispecchia il lavoro svolto e l’impegno in termini di accoglienza turistica.

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Greens/EFA Report goes after plant researchers and EU organizations. It fails

A very dry summer alongside a low supply of fertilizer and energy spikes have created the perfect storm for the European agricultural sector, with staple crops like sunflower and grain maize plummeting by 12 and 16 per cent respectively (1).

No wonder there are increasing pressures (2) by member states such as the Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, Sweden and Italy to reconsider the EU rules leading to  the 2018 European Court of Justice decision on genetic plant breeding techniques. The Court’s ruling amends the original 2001 European Commission directive on plant modification by treating CRISPR-based plants and traditional genetic manipulation as one and the same. Critics rightfully point to how the judgment hampers innovation at a time of crisis when ingenuity is needed more than ever.

The response of the Greens European Free Alliance group to these pressures can best be characterized as stormy. The EFA has come out swinging in the arena of public discourse with a report (4) that includes a few pages of claims and many more pages of personal accusation.

No matter the emotional thunder, neither the report’s assertions nor its accusations hold water.

Its claims about the effects of genetic engineering are that it produces uncontrollable, unintended  and unsafe mutations in cells, well beyond the ones found naturally or in standard mutagenic breeding (as in, induced via radiation or chemical reaction). It would be better to stick to organic farming with organic plants instead.

Yet these claims do not measure up to the overwhelming evidence (5) (weighing thousands of studies over a 21 year-period) that gene edited plants  reduce (rather than increase) the need for pesticides (6), are less prone to disease (7) and are more reliable than older plant breeding methods (8). Even more critical analyses of studies (9) found no evidence of them being unsafe for humans.

The assertions ignore the fact that 100% organic farming is often more energy and use intensive (and thus more polluting) (10) and does not scale up (11) to the task of feeding billions of people worldwide.

These angry statements are often illogical. One line of argument says having a patent is proof that the new genetic procedure cannot produce the same result as a natural process. This must be true, it says, because it would not have been patented otherwise! That said, a patent can be awarded for other reasons than achieving a different result – such as finding a new and easier means to the same result. By ‘coincidence’,  this is closer to the real argument in favor of genetics-based  plant breeding.

Not to mention how the report overreaches by trying to discredit mutagenic rearing in the same breath as new techniques. At this point, the reason for rejecting mutagenic breeding (now almost a century old practice) is that it harms plants, despite it not harming people or animals. One could easily reject eating plants, or natural selection, on the same grounds.

Most of the report is less about science than it is about the politics in science. It accuses innovation-friendly academics and groups like EPSO, ALLEA or EU-SAGE of not being researchers at all. Rather, they are activists sneakily posing as neutral experts to do the sinister bidding of companies and revolving-door politicians. It then names and shames several individuals working in the field before concluding that more transparency is needed at the EU-level.

Let’s set aside for a moment that the accusations are false – many of these same researchers have never hidden their CVs from public scrutiny and have been very outspoken about their views (12).

Forget for a moment how unusual it is to say that well-established researchers should not pursue ‘career developments’ in the field they specialize in, must limit contacts in the industry whose performance they are asked to comment on and cannot access any of the public-private funds that are standard academic fare.

Let’s instead focus on what the report ends up doing. In trying to poison the debate with talk of dark interests, it undermines faith in the EU’s scientific institutions, since consumers have no reason to trust organizations that are as corrupt and selfish as the EFA makes them out to be. It sets out a viewpoint that paints all criticism as a ‘lobby claim’ and its side as ‘reality’. The report does all this while misunderstanding the science and practice of genetic modification.

Best then to take a deep breath and calm down.

Originally published here

Democrats must not be allowed to replicate Europe’s energy disaster

In the Alpine nation of Austria , where I currently live, residents are receiving the euro equivalent of $490 as a ” climate and anti-inflation ” bonus.

This will be a godsend for those struggling with rocketing European energy prices and sustained inflation . Other European nations are doing the same, as well as more than a dozen U.S. states. But doling out millions of dollars without increased economic production will likely do more to ratchet up inflation than minimize it. The Federal Reserve admitted as much in July. It certainly won’t expedite the end of the energy crisis.

WHO BLEW UP THE NORD STREAM PIPELINES, AND HOW WILL WE FIND OUT?

What “anti-inflation” payouts represent, then, are failed energy policies. European coal plants are being fired up after years offline. LNG terminal projects in Finland and Italy are being greenlit to speed up imports. Germany’s last three nuclear power plants, set to be decommissioned this year, are receiving a second life as politicians concede the errors of the zero-carbon narrative. In the last decade, German leaders heralded the shutdown of nuclear, subsidies for solar and wind, and imports of wood pellets from southern U.S. forests as “renewable” energy. They fired up dormant coal facilities to fill the gap while Russian natural gas became the primary means of energy.

It was a sweet deal upended only by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was followed by international condemnation and energy sanctions. With Nord Stream pipelines out of the picture ( sabotaged by whom, we may never know ), German politicians are left championing coal and absconding their distaste for nuclear energy.

German energy policy, known as Energiewende, was already acknowledged as a failure. Swapping domestic nuclear power for Vladimir Putin’s gas meant Germans could boast about the 35% renewable energy mix to global praise. But that Faustian bargain has left German leaders scrambling for energy alternatives from Western liberal democracies and Arab dictatorships to fill Russia’s void. Such a glaring failure should give pause to the green ambitions of America’s political class. Instead, the Democratic Party has chosen the same trodden path.

In passing the Inflation Reduction Act without a single GOP vote, Democrats offered their energy antidote: subsidies and taxes. This includes a 30% tax rebate on efficient home upgrades and solar batteries, a $7,500 tax credit for new electric cars, and higher taxes on oil producers, costs inevitably passed on to consumers. Democratic state attorneys general are filing lawsuits against oil and gas firms for their “deceptive” roles in contributing to climate change, using shady legal footing to attempt to extract large settlements. On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he killed off the multibillion-dollar Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported Canadian and American oil to Texas for export.

Last week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) prodded leading bank CEOs into committing to “stop funding new oil and gas products” to reach America’s climate goals. Each declined. The response of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon was even more brazen: “Absolutely not, and that would be the road to hell for America.”

Our current climate policies are setting us up for more pain, depriving consumers of future stable and diverse energy supplies and leaving our allies high and dry. Making our energy more sustainable is a noble goal, one consumers care about. But considering the European dilemma, sacrificing domestic energy production a la Energiewende would, as Dimon put it, be the road to hell for America.

Our country can both be a climate leader and energy producer, but that requires boosting and diversifying energy sources rather than restricting them. It means unleashing American innovation and entrepreneurship to deliver solutions rather than platitudes. Our consumers deserve better, and so do those on the European continent.

Originally published here

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